From a young age, I knew I saw the world differently from other people. An experience would touch me deeply, and I would go to my bedroom, shut the door, and create a poem on a page in my journal to help me make sense of the world.
I didn’t know then that being a highly sensitive person is an amazing gift, that 20% of the population is actually coded to be highly sensitive. I always thought I was the only one like me, the only one who struggled, the only one who just didn’t seem to fit in.
I have never been able to “Just do it.” As an entrepreneur, I have taken many professional development courses, and have watched my peers create magic in their businesses. “Just do it” was easy for them, and when I compared myself, I was always wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t figure it out. I would beat myself up because I never got it right.
Looking all the way back to my childhood, I realized the way for me to fit in was to show up as being perfect, to be a people pleaser and never let others see the real me behind the mask. My way of surviving in the world was to never make a mistake, hold myself and others to a high standard, and to push myself to exhaustion.
The facade of Perfection began to crumble almost twenty years ago, when a long illness after the birth of my third daughter almost took my life. ( See Moving Mountains- A Woman’s Fight to Live Again) In the months of recovery, when all of my energy went into healing, scores of people stepped up to help. They brought food, and money and diapers and formula for my baby. They cleaned the house, did the laundry, shared some kind words. I watched from my laz-y-boy chair and could literally DO nothing. The only thing I could DO was accept their generosity. And this allowance of love into my life came from a state of BEING. People came with their gifts because of who I was, not because of something I DID. I realized that my vulnerability became a beacon of strength to others. When I allowed myself to be real, to show up authentically, my being spoke more loudly than anything I had done in my life to that point.
My experiences led me down the path toward becoming a healing touch practitioner and a wellness coach. As I help others take steps toward more wholeness in their life, I noticed an epidemic of the “No Time” syndrome. So many people are doing too much and not finding any time in their busy life to take care of themselves. While I love spending time one on one with clients, I felt compelled to create a tool that would be a reminder of their value when I wasn’t with them.
This is the reason I create the Moments of Delight Self-Care Cards. They are activities that can be completed in five minutes or less, reminding you to take much needed time for yourself. The next two years, I created coloring books. I have been creating greeting cards this year, and just finished a new journal, to help you capture slices of joy that happen when we least expect them.
When we focus on finding and living in joy, we get back in touch with our true nature; We are divine beings that are worthy of love just because we are, not because of what we do. Creativity as self-care has allowed me to truly see that my own artistic expressions can help guide someone else to uncover their own brilliance. As I step more into being the Joy Artist, I allow that joy to be expressed through my creations, and people who experience them can feel the joy within.
True freedom starts with a willingness to be real, to be vulnerable, to know that somedays will be difficult. I am learning to say to myself, “Jan, it is okay. You are doing the best you can.”
I can be authentic in my art and know that just as that is my expression in the world, I can’t compare myself to another’s expression in the world. We are all needed. As we each add our own brilliance, our own light, together we begin to shape the future into a place we will be happy to hand off to our children.
We can do this- It requires of us the letting go of labels, of old beliefs, of the need to be someone we are not. I firmly believe that when we re-discover that divine spark within, and learn to love all of our brilliant self, we can live our purpose and passion, we can touch the lives we are here to touch, and we can create our brilliant life.